Self-Fulfilling Prophecies and the Power of Suggestion

Many aspects of this illness are vague and the boundaries between self and illness are less-than-clear-cut. This leaves a lot of room for interpretation. For example, hallucinations and delusions are fairly straight-forward, whereas lack of motivation and social withdrawal are vague and open to judgment and interpretation.

This realization made me question how much of my illness is inborn and how much is externally-influenced.

To provide an example, previously, all my hallucinations and delusions revolved around the government. It wasn’t until I started reading other schizophrenics’ experiences of religious delusions that the content of my own delusions began to mimic these religious delusions.

I am schizophrenic —> schizophrenics have religious delusions —> I have religious delusions

I have been suffering from psychosis for about 4 years. I was diagnosed a few months ago. During those 4 years, I would never have characterized myself as lacking in motivation. It was only until I was diagnosed and it had been suggested to me that as a symptom I may lack motivation that I started finding myself lethargic and unmotivated.

I am schizophrenic —> schizophrenics lack motivation —> I lack motivation

A minority of schizophrenics experience tactile hallucinations, but in shedding light on this rare occurrence, suggesting it as a symptom, it starts becoming more and more common.

I would suggest we have more power over ourselves and this illness than we give ourselves credit for. If these “negative suggestions” can manifest themselves in symptoms, it’s probable “positive suggestions” can likewise manifest themselves in positive life changes.

For this reason I think it’s important that doctors and sufferers don’t downplay the possibilities of recovery. By suggesting that recovery is impossible, rare, unlikely, we lose any chance of making positive, life-changing suggestions.


Yes yes YES. Can I get a ‘hallelujah’? And an ‘amen’!



Recovery or Remission is possible with these illnesses. Other than hypochondria and anxiety, I am not experiencing any other major symptoms. No mania, depression, delusions, hallucinations etc… Things have been pretty stable for me for a while now, even as I am lowering the antipsychotic. You make a good point @gainesms

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There is a lot to this.

I did have some docs who gave me the worst prognosis… doom and gloom out comes. I fell for it. Why try… I’m doomed.

But when I got out of that thinking… with a lot of help, that thing started getting better for me.

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There’s been a push in the mental health industry for more ‘strengths based’ practice for this very reason; there’s an understanding that by over-promoting the illness, we’re encouraging people to go deeper down the path of sickness - to identify with it, to make their whole lives revolve around it. I worked with a man of about 25 - he hadn’t experienced an episode for 2 years but he was still living like he was in the midst of crisis. No job, no hobbies, at home all day surfing the web, always coming to sessions with new information about SZ…when I read his file, he had been seen by two psychiatrists…one stated SZ, the other stated drug-induced psychotic episode. The latter made more sense.


Ditto. Psychiatrists who don’t promote recovery don’t belong in the profession.


I have questioned my own participation in this forum for that reason. It has helped me come to grips with my illness and our mutual struggles. At the same time, I find myself identifying more and more solely as a schizophrenic (and all that entails): it has become my identity.

I’ve struggled with identity all my life. I never really knew where I fit in or what my purpose was. Now that I’ve been diagnosed, I have an answer to that question. But I have to ask whether I was better off not knowing.

I’ve always believed knowledge was empowering, and have structured my life according to that ideal. Coming to grips with the reality that it may be counterproductive is distressing.

Now I really feel that I’m not alone…after reading your thoughts and experience about sz. Though I’m not suffering from sz but my relation with sz is more than 10 years old. You know it’s really very hard for someone who’s not suffering from sz to understand the situation and cope up with it. Sometimes it really gets worst while trying to convince someone suffering to think positively. But yes I’m sure we can fight it if the person suffering himself allows positive thoughts to enlighten him or more plainly if they think like u then things will get more better day by day. Please take care of yourself and keep enlightening us with your thoughts.

Another member in the forum said what I’ve heard before that helped me. You are not a Schizophrenic, you have schizophrenia. You’re much more than your illness, no matter how much of an influence it has on you.

No worries…I’ve done the same thing before haha I’ll probably delete half my posts before I try to go to bed.

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I care, but I may chip in for fun sometimes. Sunday morning, night…tomatoe tomato.


We are boxed in by this illness. Some of the limitations are inherent in the illness, whereas others are man-made: doctors create them, society creates them, other sufferers create them and the individual creates them. Putting a name to it, identifying it, and delineating it, shapes the course of the illness. We may fail to reach our full potential or suffer wantonly simply because we put a name and a shape to it.

You can’t put all the evils back in Pandora’s box but we can change our perceptions of this illness.


Whoever said “sometimes the paranoids have real enemies” caused me a lot of anxiety.

Since that was probably me, I apologize. If there is an open mouth, I can usually find a way to insert a foot into it. That’s my superpower. Not one to brag up, that’s for sure.


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No, pixel. I was just joking. I’ve heard that said in several different places.